District makes vocational service a priority
Nze Anizor, vice president of the Rotary Club of Trans-Amadi, Nigeria, and vocational service chair of District 9140, hands a copy of Back to the Basics: Rotary 1905
to Ben Wokoma, past president of the Rotary Club of Trans Amadi, Rivers State, Nigeria. Photo courtesy of Anizor
As the global economic crisis deepens, District Governor August Hioco believes there is no better time for clubs to rediscover one of the pillars of Rotary: the Avenue of Vocational Service.
"Rotary started on the idea of helping one another through fellowship and Service Above Self," says Hioco, governor of District 5230 (California, USA). "More than any time in history, the new generation, along with the old Rotarian guard, must get back to protecting the value of vocation through business-to-business networking."
Hioco made vocational service the cornerstone of his 2008-09 year as governor and encourages all clubs to give Rotarians the opportunity to network and do business with one another.
"Because vocational service is an integral part of club projects and activities, I consider this topic fundamentally important to Rotary's future," says Hioco.
This belief led to his collaboration with Mary Margaret Fleming, a past governor of District 5230, on Back to the Basics: Rotary 1905, a tool kit that explores carrying out the Avenue of Vocational Service.
"As Rotary evolves and diversifies, we need to be more creative in our approach and methodology to keep Rotarians interested," says Fleming, Vocational Service chair of District 5230 and a past general coordinator of RI’s Public Image Resource Group. "But [we must] also attract new members while at the same time responsibly honoring our vocations.
"The benefits of doing business with one another are enormous," she says. "Gaining useful and reliable professional contacts, obtaining references, and offering opportunities for others can only help during this economic slowdown."
As Hioco tours the district to promote the kit, he's seen the support that clubs give to members most seriously affected by the economy. Clubs have offered the use of office space and assistance in résumé writing and job hunting. In some cases, Rotarians have paid dues for fellow members to enable them to stay in the organization, says Hioco.
Vocational service is one of the four Avenues of Service which form the foundation of club activity. Hioco became interested in vocational service after hearing Past RI President Cliff Dochterman speak on the issue at a district assembly a few years ago. Dochterman described the importance of vocational service in Rotary history and its continuing role in a well-balanced Rotary program.
"I was motivated by what he said and wanted to devote my year as governor to getting clubs back to vocational service," Hioco says. "I see clubs starting to appreciate the value of vocation. My focus will go far beyond just this year."
For information on ordering Back to the Basics: Rotary 1905, which includes a DVD of Dochterman's speech, contact Mary Margaret Fleming .
View a Rotary e-learning Center powerpoint presentation on vocational service.